On Monday morning, Clemson lost one of its greatest leaders. Bill McLellan passed away in Greenville at the age of 81. McLellan was a very key driver in Clemson's athletic rise to success in the '70's and '80's when he presided over the Clemson University Athletics Department. This past Spring, Clemson honored this great man by naming the North Upper Deck in his honor. Here is what we wrote about him back in May:
Many of the younger fans may not remember McLellan, but he should and now will go down as one of the most innovative athletics directors in school history. McLellan, often revered by many as "Dollar Bill" during his time leading the department, helped usher in the golden age of Clemson football. McLellan began his time at Clemson lettering on a couple of Frank Howard's early ‘50's football squads. He spent the majority of his career serving Clemson University, eventually achieving the title of Director of Athletics in 1971. McLellan believed that Clemson's programs-football in particular-should be the benefactor of only the best in everything. Under his leadership, Clemson expanded Memorial Stadium significantly by adding both the North and South Upper Levels. In this expansion, the future-thinking AD made Clemson the first on-campus school to feature luxury boxes. I can remember at one point the school priding itself as the only on-campus stadium with boxes endzone to endzone on both sides of the field. While at Clemson, athletics flourished. We obviously won the '81 football crown and the '84 soccer National Championship along with many other conference titles. Much of McLellan's legacy will be tied to negative aspects of his tenure at Clemson-and rightfully so. However, Dollar Bill is a Clemson man through and through and a very, very big reason that our athletics programs have the history and tradition they do.
McLellan will be remembered as a man who ushered in women's athletics at Clemson and an emphasis on getting the best facilities in Tigertown. He was a coach's dream supervisor--a man who fought tooth and nail to provide what was needed for these folks to be successful (seven of the coaches he hired are in the Clemson University Athletics Hall of Fame, by the way). And Clemson was definitely successful under his watch winning 34 ACC crowns between 1971 and 1985. Additionally, the two national championships, an Elite Eight appearance, and playing in the College World Series solidified Clemson as a national threat in athletics.
Bill McLellan will always be remembered as a phenomenal athletics director, a visionary, and through and through a Clemson man. A service for McLellan will be held tomorrow at noon with a graveside service at 3 PM in Woodland Cemetery (commonly known as Cemetery Hill) located behind the South Stands of Memorial Stadium. The family will receive guests at Memorial Stadium's "Tiger Den" following the graveside cemetery. God Bless Bill McLellan. May he rest in peace.